New Rajasthan BJP chief to be announced after Karnataka polls
The Rajasthan BJP is unlikely to get its new president until Karnataka election results are out, sources said.
While the state unit of the party has been headless for nearly three weeks, the issue is unlikely to be resolved anytime soon with party chief Amit Shah and chief minister Vasundhara Raje having a difference of opinion over the right candidate for the job.
“The problem is that there is hardly any common ground in the names suggested by the central leadership and the state leadership. With Amit Shah busy in (poll-bound) Karnataka, any decision is unlikely before May 15,” a BJP leader, who did not wish to be named, said.
Ashok Parnami, who was asked to step down as BJP president following the party’s debacle in the bypolls, was considered close to Raje. Interestingly, the Rajasthan media cell still mentions Parnami as the president in the press releases although he is not attending office.
While Raje has strongly opposed the nomination of Union minister Gajendra Singh Shekhawat, Shah is not too keen on names suggested by the Raje camp.
Sources said that after the BJP national general secretary, Ram Lal, put pressure on Raje to accept the party’s nominee, she got in touch with Union transport minister Nitin Gadkari, who met Shah and RSS chief Mohan Bhagwat to try and convince them about dropping Shekhwat’s name. Shah, who also met Bhagwat to apprise him about the situation, has postponed the final decision as he is busy campaigning in Karnataka.
This is not the first time Raje has locked horns with the party’s central leadership. However, while the chief minister earlier enjoyed the backing of veteran party leaders such as LK Advani and Sushma Swaraj, she has to weather the storm by herself this time.
Amid all the brouhaha over caste calculations, the party’s preparations for the coming assembly elections have been pushed to the back burner. Sources don’t rule a further tussle and eventual appointment of a compromise candidate after the Karnataka election results are out on May 15.